Here’s a very sad commentary on the relationship between what we see and what we perceive. Is it possible that just by looking at someone influences what we hear? Certainly our assumptions and stereotypes affect our perceptions but this article points to how just seeing a certain ethnicity influences our perception of accent, even when that person has been born and raised locally. It’s not easy…

Our brains become racist when processing ethnicity and accents, study finds

By Kashmira Gander

A person’s appearance influences how well they are understood by others regardless of how they sound, a new study into subconscious racism has found.

The study involved participants from a number of backgrounds – Asian, Asian and Pacific Islander, Asian and white, black, Pacific Islander and South Asian – transcribing sentences played over static noise. The tracks were presented alongside an image of three crosses, or a black and white photo of the speaker.

All speakers were born and raised in Richmond, British Colombia, Canada, and had a typical Canadian accent, however half of the speakers were white, while the others identified as Chinese, Vice News reported.

The participants were also asked to rate how strong the speaker’s accent was, and take part in implicit and explicit measures of ethnic bias – including whether Asians are better at maths – and a social network self-assessment considering whether they spend more time with Asian Canadians or White Canadians.

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